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Fight Back! Steps to Take Against Cybersquatters

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on May 18, 2016 11:55 AM

It's a war out there in cyberspace. Everyone is vying for a piece of the pie -- customer eyeballs and dollars. But what are some steps that the honest solo attorney can utilize to fight against that most annoying of opportunists, the cybersquatter?

But you don't have to give up when a cybersquatter takes over one of your desired domains. Fight back, with these quick tips that will help you shore up your good name against the attacks of online domain-name trolls.

1. Register Your Domain With Uncle Sam

Domain names come in two different flavors: registered and unregistered. Guess which one has the most protections?

You'll want to register your domain with the USPTO. Only a small fraction of trademark owners ever lose a case over IP rights and domain names. Just make sure you don't register your name over an already existing trademark.

2. Load up on Variations of Your Domain Name

Have you ever made the mistake of typing in 'Craiglist.com'? Back in the day, typing that into your browser would direct you to a porno site. And all you wanted was to sell your couch!

Typing mistakes are human and unfortunately result in traffic being diverted away from your site. Your potential clients could be lining the pockets of cybersquatters. One of the easiest ways of getting around this is buying the domains that are variations of your domain name. For example, if your firm is Chuck, Black & Gladwell, you would do well to buy up 'chuckblackandgladwell.com', 'cbglaw.com', 'chuckblacklaw.com,' 'cbglawfirm.com'...you get the idea. Don't forget the other weird extensions like '.net' and '.biz,' and even '.law!'

3. Snatch up Hater Sites, Too

This last one is a little more obtuse, but it makes sense. Buy up those domains that "hate on" your firm. Here's an example, "johnsmithlawsucks.com." Yes, if you buy the domains that express your enemies' hatred toward you, you can preempt attempts to steal your traffic -- and keep people from seeing negative content. It's a sad reality that you have to become an owner of the domain names that would be set up by those out to torpedo your reputation, but hey -- you know what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.

One last tip, don't forget to re-register your domain down the line: failure to do so can lead to unintended (and perhaps funny) results.

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